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Fairy Tales from Many Lands (Illustrations)


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(From the Servian Folk Lore)

THERE was once a king who had three sons, and he had also a golden apple tree, that bore nothing but golden apples, and this tree he loved as though it had been his daughter. The king was never able, however, to have any of the fruit it bore, for no sooner were the apples ripe than they would disappear in the night, and this in spite of a guard being set around the garden to watch it and see that no one entered in.

One time the eldest prince came to the king and asked to be allowed to keep watch over the tree that night. "And if I do," said he, "I promise you that nothing shall be allowed to approach it, not even the smallest sparrow."

The king consented to this, so that evening the prince took his sword, and went out into the garden to mount guard over the tree. Scarcely had it become dark when he heard a sound of wings beating through the air, and this sound made him so drowsy that his eyelids weighed like lead, and he fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke it was morning, and all the apples were gone from the tree.

The prince returned to the palace, and was obliged to confess to the king that he had slept all the night through.

The king was very angry, but the second son said, "My father, allow me to keep watch over the tree the next time, and I promise you I will do better than my brother, for I will not so much as close my eyes until daybreak."

The king was willing, so when evening came the second son took his sword and went into the garden to watch the tree as his brother had done before him.

Hardly was it dark before he heard the sound of wings, and then in spite of himself his eyes closed and he fell into a deep sleep. He never stirred until daylight, and when he sat up and looked about him every apple was gone.

After this it was the turn of the third son to watch the tree, but he was a very wise prince. He had listened to all his brothers had to say about the sound of wings they had heard, and how the sound had put them to sleep, and before he went into the garden he stuffed his ears with cotton so that he could hear nothing. Then he placed himself near the tree and began his watch.

As soon as it was dark the sound of beating wings began, and the sound drew nearer and nearer, but the prince did not hear it because of the cotton in his ears. Then a light appeared in the sky, and seven golden peahens flew into the garden. They shone so that all the place was lit up as though by the light of day. Six of the peahens settled on the branches of the apple tree and began to shake down the apples, but the seventh changed into the most beautiful princess the prince had ever seen in all his life. Her hair was like a golden cloud about her; her eyes were as blue as the sky, and from head to foot she was dressed all in cloth of gold. She began to gather up the fruit that the others shook down to her, and for awhile the prince could neither stir nor speak for wonder of her beauty. Then he took the cotton from his ears, and went over to her, and began to talk to her and ask her who she was.

At first when the princess saw him she was frightened, but presently she told him that she and the six peahens were the daughters of a king who lived far away, and that they had flown over seven mountains and over seven seas, all for the love of the golden apples. She also told him that by day she and her sisters lived in a beautiful pleasure palace their father had built for them, but when night came they changed themselves into peahens, and flew about the world wherever they chose.

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  • We started tracking this book on October 17, 2020.
  • The current price of this book is $1.99 last checked one day ago.
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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: October 27, 2014
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 207 Pages
  • File Size: 5,641 KB

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